KODIAK — Kodiak’s third-snowiest winter on record has occasionally brought traffic to a halt and slowed movement. On Near Island, where a new regional Alaska Department of Fish and Game headquarters is under construction, things have barely slowed down.

“It’s been a heck of a winter,” said Scott Ivany, manager of Alaska operations for PCL Construction, which is constructing the new building. “We’ve pressed through, and when we have had breaks in the weather, we have had lots of hours put in.”

John White, a Fish and Game employee who oversees construction projects, said work is behind schedule maybe three to four weeks. Ivany said weather delays are “probably a few days” at this point, but might be made up during the summer.

The $15 million building was originally scheduled for completion in December, following year-round work that began in late summer.

“This is the biggest (project) we’ve got going on right now,” White said.

Across the state, White oversees everything from bunkhouses and warehouses to office complexes. Winter is normally a quiet period for him, but there’s no quiet on Near Island.

This week, PCL and Belarde Custom Concrete are pouring the new building’s slab, the foundation for two floors of offices. Below the slab is a sheltered parking area.

“The next step in the process is to erect the steel that forms the upper levels and the roof,” Ivany said.

Early in the foundation work for the building, PCL ran into an unexpected outcropping of shale, which forced a quick change of plan. Ivany and White both said that problem has long since been addressed, and work will accelerate now the slab is complete and summer is coming closer.

Ivany said about 20 people are working on the job right now, and that number could increase to as many as 50, but 30 is more likely.

Ivany is impressed with the available workforce in Kodiak and said about 70 percent of the people on the job site are local.

“We’re pleasantly surprised at how competent and safety-conscious and just good, flexible people who have great ideas and a great work ethic that we’ve been able to find,” he said.

Construction traffic across Fred Zharoff Memorial Bridge may pick up slightly as warmer weather arrives, he said, but Kodiakans shouldn’t expect any significant problems.

Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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